Mick Fanning's guided tour of J-Bay is like one of those twisty carnival rides where you can't tell if you're excited or ready to throw up. Even when the camera stops you still feel as if you're spinning!
These lil GoPro clips where a pro surfer gives you a guided tour of a wave are a bit of a roulette wheel. Who knows what you’re going to get? Some are better than others, and this, of Mick Fanning, is unusually short.
But contained within it’s one minute is Mick on a wave that feels like one of those twisty carnival rides where you can’t tell whether you’re excited or ready to throw up. Even at the end, it feels like your head is still spinning.
What I get out of these POV waves is how compressed, how twisted the best pro’s turns are. The motherfuckers…slam… their turns.
"No individualism here, no ego, no celebration of one hero. In surf, as in technology, one cannot reach the next level alone. Without the people around us, without We, without Us, I is nothing." Who knew owning a clunky Android phone could be profound!
(A note from the editor: Ain’t it the damnedest thing, how a simple piece of cinema or whatever can make one vomit, the other weep with joy. This advertisement for Samsung telephones, for instance, made Rory Parker furious. “It’s a bunch of pandering garbage that everyone is just gobbling up. I don’t get the appeal at all,” he told me. I soaked it up. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the voice-over, and when I read the transcript of the commercial without the vision I cringed, but the rest I loved. They totally get it. But, then, as someone who forever ponders the brevity of life, is convinced they have some kind of terminal disease waiting to germinate and who cried and cried and cried when I first saw Blue Crush on a plane, I ain’t the best person to ask. Whatevs, here’s Rory’s take.)
Isn’t it cool how we’re all, like, one brotherhood? Look, we’re wearing the same boardshorts. That’s sick, I got mine at my local shop on sale. They’re usually $90 a pair, but I get the hook-up ‘cuz they know me, 5% off everything in the shop.
Not boards though, but that’s just because they don’t sell ’em anymore.
Isn’t it cool how being a surfer means that we, like, totally get each other? It’s such a spiritual thing, sharing waves at my local beach break. If a dude forgets his wax I’ll totally let him use mine.
Did you hear about Bob? He’s making bank down in Nica. Rents out rooms at this place he leases, charges people a hundred bucks a night. Like, no overhead because local wages are so low. And, you know, you actually shouldn’t pay them more regardless of how much you’re taking in. It’d be bad for the local economy.
Have you seen that new ad Samsung paid some people to make?
So cool, it totally gets surfing.
“We are greater than I,” that’d be a sweet tattoo. The whole thing does a really sick job of encompassing what surfing is, and how much surfers really like each other. One tribe, bro, only a surfer knows the feeling. Life’s better in boardshorts.
I’m so stoked that a company finally gets us.
And, oh dude, the ending!
This full on spiritual paddle out thing, people splashing water and, like, totally shouting empty nonsense into the void. It really validates my self image. I can’t wait for what they come up with next.
“If I ever get a sunburn, I’ll put honey on my face,” she says. Honey! Nature’s true nectar! “It’s healing. You can leave it on for five to 10 minutes, and you think it’s super sticky, but it washes right off. It’s a beautiful little trick of mine.”
Our sport’s pillar of beauty, grace, and poise, Ms. Stephanie Gilmore, graces the Grey Lady’s pages today, in a Style feature titled, bluntly, “The Look of a Champion Surfer.”
Steph is her bright and shiny self, and takes the time to discuss the finer points of her “beauty regimen.”
Most of it is pretty useless to a 31-year-old man in possession of the face and body he deserves. But what a thrill, hearing of Steph’s delicious sunburn remedy:
“If I ever get a sunburn, I’ll put honey on my face,” she says. Honey! Nature’s true nectar!
“It’s healing. You can leave it on for five to 10 minutes, and you think it’s super sticky, but it washes right off. It’s a beautiful little trick of mine.”
There’s a joke in there re: “it’s super sticky, but it washes right off…” but I’m not the man to tell it. But I will say this: what a shame it is that no worthy man has risen to the occasion and offered to help her get that sticky honey off her sun-smooched face!
Steph says that, at night, she’s been “going a little more “French aggressive” as of late — a little cat-eye, a little Givenchy mascara, a little Chanel Rouge. She channels Elle Macpherson, “that dewy bronzed beach babe look” a la Gigi Hadid.
She touches on her diet’s more sinful indulgence — a signature orange and almond cake involving something called a Thermomomix — as well as how she likes to “keep it fresh.”
“There’s nothing better than a beautiful piece of fish with a yummy salad,” she says.
Oh, Steph! You can be the beautiful piece of fish in our yummy salad any day, darling.
I’ve been in a foul mood lately. The surf has been good, the weather is beautiful and I’m stuck indoors doing jack shit. Cleaning the house, that’s what I’m doing. Because we hired a cleaning lady to help me out while I deal with this IV in my arm thing and my wife called and told me to make sure I clean up before she arrives.
What sense does that make?
I was gonna do a pre J-Bay “who’s hot” type thing, because I couldn’t think of anything original, but I realized there’s no point. Everyone else does something similar, and, besides, what the hell do I know?
So, rather than try and pretend I’m writing something with merit or value, I’m just going to say mean things about the current men’s top ten. Maybe that’ll make me feel better.
Adriano de Souza: The Damien Hardman of the 21st century. It’s like, how the fuck is this guy in the top spot? Maybe the judges are scoring him twice as well because he’s only half a man?
Filipe Toledo: Filipe looks like some Dr Moreau-vian experiment involving a meerkat and a llama.
Owen Wright: His sister is the better surfer.
Mick Fanning: Mick looks like a Schutzstaffel guard who specializes in rape.
Julian Wilson: If Miss Piggy were a transgender pro surfer she’d look something like this plump little tow-head.
Taj Burrow: More wasted potential than my entire scholastic career.
Nat Young: Santa Cruz’s answer to Adriano.
Josh Kerr: Kerrzy’s cool.
Italian Ferrari: Lucked into the top ten because all the good surfers are hurt or fucking blowing it. Kid’s gonna be crushed when he falls off tour next year.
Jeremy Flores: Would do much better as a free surf pro, if only he had something approaching an appealing personality.
Want to complete your education on all things surf? Absorb these!
If there existed a course in surf cinema, and of course there isn’t, these are the five films you would watch in the first semester.
They aren’t necessarily the…best… but they all have moments that capture that essential something about surfing. Blue Crush, you might find a little tenuous for its Disney-esque painting of North Shore life. But, even now, if I switch it on and find this one particular scene, it still gives me the shakes.
1. Bustin’ Down the Door
A 2008 documentary that documents in the most dramatic fashion, the Hawaiian winters of 74/75 and 75/76. Why do these winters matter? In 1974 surfers from Australia and South Africa dominated the big-wave events on the North Shore. The Hawaiians weren’t thrilled, but whatever. They became murderous when the Australian boasted about their exploits in print. This documentary is a meticulous account of that violent, terrifying, for the Australians, winter of 75/76. It is the finest document of an epoch in surfing you’ll find.
Turning point: When Ian “Kanga” Cairns seriously contemplates killing a man by throwing him into traffic.
2. Lost Atlas
Kai Neville’s follow-up film to his high-performance statement Modern Collective. Lost Atlas, however, finds a filmmaker suddenly able to express his intention without any technical limitations. Dusty Payne’s sequence is still regarded by many as the best in a surf film for a long time.
Turning point: Dusty’s candid take on women’s surfing, an opinion he backs up with his own astonishing performance.
3. Riding Giants
Stacey Peralta, the one-time skate superstar turned celebrated filmmaker (Dogtown and Z-Boys), narrates and directs this documentary about the rise of big-wave surfing. Stacey doesn’t do anything by halves. Riding Giants (2004) is as compelling as it is important as a document of an often-misunderstood art.
Turning Point: “I guess this is a good day to… die” Gerry Lopez.
4. Blue Horizon
A sponsor-funded film from 2003 that was meant to show the lifestyle differences of the free surfer (Dave Rastovich) and the competitive animal (Andy Irons) ended up becoming a stunning account of winning and losing at the highest level. “I just want to crush Kelly’s pretty picture,” says Andy.
Turning point: Kelly Slater weeping in the shower after losing the world title to Andy Irons.
5. Blue Crush
This isn’t meant to be a shock choice. Yeah, it’s Hollywood and, yeah, it’s cheese ball at times. But the moment in this 2002 feature when Hawaiian bodyboarder turned actor Chris Taloa tells Kate Bosworth to “stop with this surfing the sandbar horseshit” and tries to paddle her into a set at Pipe? If you surf, if you’ve ever contemplated actually riding 10-foot Pipe, your heart will be in your mouth.
Turning point: That moment in the film when the Pipeline crowd parts and Kate Bosworth’s character… pulls back!